During my last visit to Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi, magically set in the extraordinary and scenic countryside to the south of Siena, I’ve visited the wonderful Monastery of Sant’Anna in Camprena, located only few kilometers away north of Pienza.
The monastery was chosen for filming some of the most famous scenes of “The English Patient” by Anthony Minghella, an authentic masterpiece, winner of 9 Oscars! I’ve seen it a lot of times, and it always makes me cry.
A long avenue of cypress trees leads to the monastery, all surrounded by an amazing natural landscape, standing amidst green fields, round hills, and characterized by a lovely garden! The ancient cemetery is really peculiar and suggestive, do visit it!
The monastery was founded in 1324 by Bernardo Tolomei, as a hermitage place for the Benedectine monks of the Olivetan order.
In the beautiful refectory you can admire the splendid fresco cycle of the great artist Antonio Bazzi, known as the Sodoma, then a young painter coming from Vercelli.
The frescoes date back to the years 1503-1504 and represent a first stage of the great craft of the painter, that would be definitely established in the near Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a few years later.
That’s a unique place with a unique atmosphere, so I suggest you stay there for at least one night. The Monastery is today also a nice agriturismo of great quality, the rooms are simple but very comfortable; some used to be the ancient cells of the monks. The view from each room is incomparable 🙂
At the restaurant of the farmhouse you can also enjoy delicious traditional Tuscan dishes, simple but incredibly tasty.
The property also hosts different courses of art each year, from photography and music to painting and drawing; while during the summer concerts of classicla music are performed in the church.
That’s indeed a very special place and full of great charm; perfect to enjoy a very relaxing vacation in the Tuscan countryside near Siena!